A ‘VERY High’ fire danger has been forecast for this coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday across our region.

Temperatures in the mid 30s are expected with hot, dry north westerly winds peaking on Friday.

Severe Heat Wave conditions have also been forecast for West and South Gippsland district and Extreme Heat Wave conditions forecast for East Gippsland district.

The East Gippsland fires have burnt 1,083,197 hectares since November 21 and still have the potential to impact on communities.

Gippsland Regional Controller Gary Whewell said: “There is still a month of summer to go and the risk of further bushfires is very real.

“The Bureau of Meteorology has also forecast dry lightning and storms for parts of Gippsland on Saturday.

“The grass in West and South Gippsland has really started to dry off in recent weeks so grassfires are now also a significant risk.”

“If you’re caught in a grassfire on a farm, move to somewhere with minimal vegetation, such as a ploughed or well-grazed paddock and monitor conditions.

“Never wait for an official warning before you leave, as you may not get one. Fires can start quickly and threaten homes and lives within minutes. Make sure you have a plan.

“If you wait and decide to leave after a fire has started, you risk driving your family through thick smoke, fallen trees and power lines, and face the danger of collisions, being trapped by fire, serious injury or death.”

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has issued a heat health alert based on the Bureau of Meteorology 7-day forecast. The forecast conditions may cause an increase in heat related illnesses in the community, particularly in East Gippsland.

“Extreme heat can affect anyone. Pregnant women, people with a pre-existing medical condition, people aged over 65 and children and babies are most at risk.

“Drink plenty of water, never leave anyone in a car, stay somewhere cool, plan ahead and check in on others.”